THE ICON: Y Van Vu
THE LEGACY: In his native South Vietnam in the 1960s, Pho Tau Bay proprietor Y Van Vu was one successful restaurateur. He had a protegee, too: his daughter, Thu Cao, who went with him to his Saigon outlets to ensure that the broth, made from a secret recipe, met family standards. After Saigon fell in 1975, the family was scattered until they reunited in New Orleans. Given the city’s vibrant Vietnamese community, Cao decided to try her luck with a restaurant. Like her father, she, too, succeeded: A food stall gave rise to a local Pho Tau Bay restaurant and, eventually, three more. Vu, who had imparted his skills to his daughter, never ran a restaurant again, but his legacy lives on — a world away from where it started.
THE ARTIST: Alexandra Kilburn
THE INSPIRATION: “It was very sad to have to leave. Very hard. It is a sad memory when you wake up one morning and you leave everything behind.” — Y Van Vu, in a 2004 interview with The Times-Picayune, about his departure from Vietnam